PriMus – PhD in Museums



The research program PriMus –  PhD in museums funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the VDI/VDE Innovation + Technik GmbH, initiates sustainable cooperation and networking between university and museum. It is an interdisciplinary doctoral program cooperating with six museums in the Hamburg region with the aim of implementing a museum-related education model that combines the doctorate with the contents of a museum internship, promotes the transfer between art and cultural-scientific research and museums, and allows different types of museums to enter into a scientific dialogue.

At six participating museums of different fields in the Hamburg region – Hamburger KunsthalleMuseum am Rothenbaum – Kulturen und Künste der Welt, Deichtorhallen HamburgMuseum für Kunst und Gewerbe HamburgOstpreußisches Landesmuseum (Lüneburg) und Buddenbrookhaus – Heinrich-und-Thomas-Mann-Zentrum (Lübeck) (see the thematic proposals of the museums) – doctoral candidates work on their PhD thesis and on an exhibition concept dedicated to unexplored areas of the collections of the six partner institutions that include the fields of design, art of the 19th century, contemporary art, literary history, cultural history, and ethnography. 

The doctoral theses are supervised at the Leuphana University Lüneburg. The exhibition concepts, in turn, visualize the research results and are evaluated in regard to viability, visualization strategies, communication concepts, time and finance plans. An advisory board consisting of six museum experts of the partner institutions and three innovation mentors accompanies the work stages of the program and validates the practicability of the education model.


The program responds to the divides between university and museum, theory and practice, research and exhibition work, that have arisen due to the separation of doctorate and internship during the education phase. It is meant to support research at the museums and enhance knowledge transfer between the university and museums. Current research results are thus presented to a broad public as well. In an interdisciplinary dialogue among the museum types, new narrative modes and forms of presenting cultural goods of the most various sorts are developed and discussed. This strengthens the educational mandate of museums, since they present themselves to the public as a site of research, knowledge, and society’s self-understanding in regard to cultural heritage.

After the project, the validated education steps are published in a guide made available to interested institutions for the long-term implementation of the education of doctoral candidates oriented toward museum work.


The college had a project duration from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2019. Six positions for doctoral candidates and one postdoc position have been advertised. All seven positions are funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the VDI/VDE Innovation + Technik GmbH.



Head of Programme: 

  • Dr. Nina Samuel